At a ceremony held on September 21st, the Borough of West Chester was inducted into the AARP Network of Age-Friendly Communities, which helps participating communities become great places for all ages by adopting such features as safe, walkable streets, better housing and transportation options, access to key services, and opportunities for residents to participate in community activities. As a member, West Chester will be part of a growing national movement of livable communities striving to meet the needs of their 19,000 residents.
West Chester is the fourth community in Pennsylvania to join the age-friendly network – after Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, and Allegheny County.
West Chester’s age-friendly designation is a result of a partnership between the WCU Department of Psychology as well as faculty, administrators, and students from West Chester University, the office of the Mayor of West Chester, the Borough Council, as well as service providers in the West Chester area such as the Senior Center, the Hickman, and the Area Agency on Aging offices. West Chester University completed a comprehensive action plan that includes conducting assessments of Borough services and programs, and exploring components of the Borough which foster or hinder the health and well-being of its aging population.
“It is crucial for communities to address the needs of a rapidly aging population,” stated Bill Johnston-Walsh, AARP PA State President. “Older adults are living longer and not only want to stay in their communities, but want to become more involved in their communities. Livable communities are an investment that will not only improve the lives of their residents today, but prepare us for the growing number of older residents tomorrow.”
Livable communities work towards helping communities adopt safe, walkable streets, better housing and transportation options, access to key services, and opportunities for residents to participate in community activities. Livable Communities supports the efforts of neighborhoods, towns and cities to become great places for people of all ages. We believe that communities should provide safe, walkable streets; age-friendly housing and transportation options; access to needed services; and opportunities for residents of all ages to participate in community life.
“West Chester University is pleased to join the Borough of West Chester in an innovative partnership that addresses the well-being and happiness of elders in our community,” stated Christopher Fiorentino, Interim President of West Chester University of Pennsylvania.
Mayor Comitta also commented, “We celebrate our diversity, our walkability, our vibrant downtown and our beautiful neighborhoods. West Chester has been named one of the best places in the country to raise a family, to go to school and to retire.”
Photo Caption: (Left to Right) Jasmine Tahmaseb McConatha, Professor at West Chester University; Mark Yoder, President of Greater West Chester Chamber of Commerce; Carolyn Comitta, Mayor of West Chester Borough; Christopher Fiorentino, Interim President at West Chester University; Jean Setzfand, Senior VP at AARP.